Cabinet approves open trial against Nawaz Sharif in two NAB references

Arshad Waheed Chaudhry

ISLAMABAD: The caretaker federal cabinet decided on Wednesday to hold an open trial of the former prime minister Nawaz Sharif in the Al-Azizia and the Flagship references. 

The cabinet also rescinded an earlier decision to conduct corruption proceedings against former prime minister Nawaz Sharif inside Adiala jail.

Nawaz was sent to jail last week after his conviction in the Avenfield properties reference following which a notification was issued ordering the trial of the remaining two corruption references against him inside the jail premises.

As the cabinet met under the chair of Interim Prime Minister Justice (retd) Nasir-ul-Mulk, it took up the matter of reversing the notification issued by the Ministry of Law and Justice as per the NAB Ordinance.

Thus, the trial of the former premier in the Al Azizia and Flagship references will take place in the accountability court where it has been under way since last year. The next hearing of the cases is due on July 30. 

Moreover, during the cabinet meeting, the interim interior minister gave a briefing to the cabinet on the country's overall law and order situation with a special focus on security preparations for the July 25 election.

At present, the accountability court hearing the corruption cases against the former premier is waiting for directions from the Islamabad High Court (IHC) where Nawaz has challenged his conviction as well as sought a transfer of the cases to another judge. 

Hearing the matter on Tuesday, the IHC had issued notices to the National Accountability Bureau on all the pleas and adjourned the hearing till the last week of July. 

During today's hearing, the accountability court adjourned the proceedings till July 30 in order to wait for IHC directions on the matter. 

Information minister briefs media on cabinet meeting 

Later, in a briefing to the media, Information Minister Ali Zafar stated that the cabinet has given approval to several administrative measures to take further the mainstreaming of tribal areas.

Earlier this year, through an act of law, the Parliament had approved the merger of the tribal areas with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) province.

Zafar said the cabinet approved that no sales tax will be deducted from electricity consumers in the tribal areas.

He added that the deduction of customs duty, manufacturing tax and profit tax will in the tribal areas will be changed.

The minister said other administrative changes will be carried out by the KP government.

Moreover, the minister informed that the cabinet also discussed measures to deal with the country’s placement on the ‘grey-list’ of the Financial Action Task Force.